The Condo News print newspaper is published every other Wednesday*. It is circulated throughout Palm Beach County, from Delray to North Palm Beach, and from Singer Island, Palm Beach and South Palm Beach to Royal Palm Beach, in Condominium, Cooperative and Home Owner Association Communities. For more information, or to have the Condo News  brought to your community, e-mail us or write to: P.O. Box 109, West Palm Beach, FL 33409. Tel:(561) 471-0329

* Due to the current state of economy, the Condo News is published every other week until further notice. 

 

Welcome to CN's Fit After Fifty Column by Betty Thomas

On This Page: 

~ Royce Emley,  "Remembering Jerry"

• Essays by ...

 

~ Doug Moore

~ Royce Emley

~ Arnie Dickerman

~ Geoffrey Kashdan ~

~ Dot Loewenstein ~

~ Tony Senzamici ~

~ Tina Chippas ~

~ Stanley Shotz ~

 

Last Updated 01/27/2014

Remembering Jerry

By Royce Emley, Tequesta, FL

Back in 1970 I had started an advertising agency in West Palm Beach and I was very involved with the marketing of condos. I was placing advertising for that condo they blew up last year down on Flagler Drive, Juno by the Sea in Juno Beach, Sims Creek in Jupiter and a host of other condos like the Trump Plaza that at the time was called the Plaza built by Bob Armor. This guy Jerry Heacock showed up at my office and told me he was starting a newspaper he was going to call the Condo News and would give me some great rates if I would advertise. Jerry was very brash, but I sensed a warm heart behind the façade. He made it possible for my fledgling advertising agency to do full page ads for my clients at a great price. He did all the work including the writing and the distribution back then. He made me look good in the eyes of my clients and built himself a great paper well ahead of its time. At first the main stream media scoffed at this small paper that only did news articles on condos and thought it was only for Century Village since it was the prominent condo in the area at the time

We did business together for a few years as more and more condos were built until I quit the business. The memory of Jerry and the Condo News is a dim memory from another time, I retired a decade ago and it has been over 40 years since the Condo News came out. But when I see places like Singer Island all I can think of is Jerry telling me how our whole economic future was going to be based on Condos in the years to come. How true his words were. I now go to the Condo News’ website and reminisce knowing buried among the words, photos and electronic bytes lives the spirit of Jerry Heacock.

 

— Royce Emley,

Tequesta FL.

 

Jerry Heacock, 

1985

Editor’s note: Jerry Heacock passed away July 20, 1998


Essays by 

Doug Moore

(1-22-14)

The Boys of Summer Played There

Spring training baseball in Palm Beach County is just around the corner which reminded me of our past history of our great game that took place in West Palm Beach.

In 1924 the property now occupied by the garage at the Kravis Center was a baseball stadium named Municipal Athletic Field. It was later renamed Connie Mack Field in 1952 in honor of long-time Philadelphia Athletics Hall of Fame manager and owner Connie Mack (real name - Cornelius McGillicuddy).

The stadium hosted spring training games for the St. Louis Browns from 1928-1936 and Philadelphia Athletics from 1945-1962. It also hosted some of the greatest names in the game including the legendary Babe Ruth, Jackie Robinson. Record attendance for baseball was on March 20, 1949 when 6,988 fans saw the A’S defeat the Brooklyn Dodgers in a spring training game featuring Jackie Robinson on the field.

In 1962 West Palm Beach Municipal Stadium was built to replace Connie Mack Field and hosted spring training for the Atlanta Braves and Montreal Expos. Some of the hall of fame members that played there were Warren Spahn, Hank Aaron, Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, Gary Carter, Andrew Dawson.

Municipal Stadium closed in 1997. Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter opened in 1998 and presently host the St. Louis Cardinals and Miami Marlins in the spring.

Baseball in Palm Beach County is alive and well, but the thought of Ruth, Robinson, Mack, and the other boys of summer playing here is special.


Essays by

Royce Emley

How Did I Know it was Time to Retire to Florida?

I knew it was time to retire when my wife gave my favorite suit to Goodwill and a teenager showed up at my door wearing it on Halloween night dressed as Al Capone. I knew when I threw away my alarm clock and let my bladder wake me up at 6am every morning.

I knew when I mentioned Pearl Harbor to my Grandson and he said he had heard of her. Didn’t she use to sing with a big band?

I should have known when I discovered that the lifetime guarantees on everything I owned had expired. I should have known when I turned on my computer and DOS 3.5 came up as my operating system.

I did start to realize after I found the kids at Burger King were getting paid more per hour than I ever made per hour in my life. I started to know when I had a garage sale and everything had a brand name that no one had ever heard of.

It became apparent when I remembered the corner occupied by Walgreen’s Drugstore was on the same corner where I went to buy drugs years ago when you didn’t need a prescription.

Or when I remembered milk being delivered to my front door in a bottle. But the most obvious was when the only things my friends could talk about every day was their bowel movements.

I knew it was time to retire when the only way I could find my way home meant I had to find Publix food store first, everyone in Florida knows their way home from Publix.

Little things made it apparent when the only bird I could name was the Early Bird or like trying to lick a stamp that is self-adhesive. But the big one was when the can of Coffee in my kitchen cupboard was so old I discovered it was Pre-Columbian.

When I found out the house next door sold for $380,000 and I paid only $28,000 for mine. When all I ever watched on TV was the History channel and Turners Movie Classics.

I knew it was time when my Limo driver showed up at the front door one night in a new black suit and I thought he was the undertaker.

When all those brown spots on my arms and hands would not wash off. When I dropped off my teeth at the dentist’s office to be worked on. When I discovered I had a key ring with over 30 keys on it and all I really used were two.

I knew it was time to retire when I ate at a fish restaurant and had a compulsion to tell the waitress out loud that "That was the best piece of bass I ever had in my life!"

So now I live in Florida retired and wonder how I got here!


Essays by 

Arnie Dickerman

The Summers of My Life

August 21, 2013

Though my childhood years are long gone, at this particular time of the year, there is a vague feeling of something that affects my senses which seems to "trigger" my thoughts back in time, when this point in time was so profound in my young life ... the good old Summertime!

Summertime — a kid’s most magical, mystical and memorable season of the year. The summer solstice, according to the calendar, starts June 21st and ends on the 21st day of September. Not to me, it didn’t then. My summers began on the very last day of school, usually one of the very last couple of days in June and sadly came to an abrupt end right after Labor Day weekend, when after a very bad sleep-deprived night, I awoke to the first day of the new school year. That was tough, to say the least.

To best describe this I am reminded of an old popular Army song: "Oh How I Hate To Get Up In The Morning." It seemed it was just the other day, back at the end of June, when the final bell rang in class to signal the end of the past school year, when I ritually exclaimed to everyone ... "I was so happy that I could jump up to the sky" (that school vacation had begun), which now had so fleetingly passed.

Bemoaning my glorious wonderful summer that was free from the chains of being incarcerated for hours in a school building, with strict demanding teachers, burdened with homework, early bedtime, taking various tests, book reports on which I was required to write as a review of the most uninteresting reading material — heck, I believe that you can relate to the drill — my beautiful summer laden with warm long daylight hours, no meeting time schedules, with the possible exception of movie theater schedules — playing with friends non-stop, just taking one’s time to eat, calls from Mom and, paraphrasing Martin Luther King, "Free at last, free at last."

My God, my favorite time of the year when my entire being was completely soaked up in a virtual Paradise, suddenly had now come to an abrupt depressing end. My mind’s eye was still focused on the recent past summer activities ... on that first day back to school. My thoughts were drifting back to punch ball, stickball, Johnny on the pony 123, softball, dusting off and polishing my bicycle for long delicious "trips", ring-a-Levio, hide and seek ("come out, come out wherever you are" shouted by whoever was "IT"), box baseball, five-ten, flipping baseball cards. After unending playing until exhaustion set in, sweaty and deliriously happy, my cohorts and I would go to Lou’s Candy Store for refreshing cold sodas.

Yes, those summer days were exhilarating and wonderful. This era also was a time before television, video games, Internet, Smart Phones, X-Box, and the wonders of today’s technology, yet hardly and barely understandable to my grandchildren, that all of my peers, boys and girls, found a myriad of activities to enjoy and loved every minute of it. It seems that the word "bored" wasn’t invented yet either. Even a heat generated thunderstorm followed by streams of flowing water which ran into the "gutters" alongside the "curb" allowed us to use our creative ingenuity to float discarded ice cream sticks, imaginary kayaks if you will, and race them down the street toward the sewer drain.

July and August also meant families spending hours at Brighton Beach or Coney Island. Sunburned bodies arriving home after an ordeal of subway and bus travel (we didn’t even own ONE automobile) while still wearing our bathing suits, damp and filled with sand, as an uncomfortable souvenir from a terrific fun filled day at the beach. But, oh, those nights, with aching red hot skin smeared with Calamine Lotion to soothe the inflamed skin when contacting the bed sheet, the smell of citronella to ward off the pesky mosquitos that somehow came through tiny openings in the screened open windows. We did have a huge exhaust fan held in place between the window sill and the window itself. Of course it just circulated hot summer air.

I forgot to mention that we didn’t have air conditioners in our apartment in my Brownsville, Brooklyn neighborhood either. Some neighbors of our apartment building would sit on folding chairs half of the night under my window yakking away and trying to "keep cool." The sounds of their chatter and radios playing music from the Big Band era in the background. As we occupied the ground floor front apartment, this acted as "white noise" and would lull me to sleep. An occasional ice cream truck vendor would approach them, calling for their attention with bells jingling and playing a maddening musical chime which would disturb me, giving me another attempt to doze. These same ice cream trucks, Bungalow Bar, Good Humor, Rich’s Ice Cream would return during the day, as would "ride trucks", vehicles refitted to have a whip ride, a swing ride, another with a merry- go- round, still another that would spin. Once on a bet, one kid asked to ride alone at top speed. That’s when he, Charlie Levine, turned green and threw up, and if I remember it correctly, Charlie did win the bet!

Without hesitation for yet unthinkable dangers, our parents allowed us to go unaccompanied to Ebbets Field, to see our beloved Brooklyn Dodgers. I was fortunate enough to watch in person Robinson, Campenella, Erskine, Furillo, The Duke (Snyder) and Hodges and Reese. We would make frequent trips to root and shout for our "Bums." Then be perennially disappointed when our team would be beat by the Yankees in the fall series. For it’s not only "A Long, Long Time from June to December", as the song goes, it was really an eternity from one summer to the next. Now with shorter days, longer nights, cold and snowy days to come, Fall was now upon us with the promise of a cold, gray, snowy winter to follow. Yuk! Seemingly suddenly, and without warning, as if I was thrust into a time-machine, my life was beginning to speed fast forward. The summers of my life began to come ever so much faster.

Taking stock of myself, my "schooling" days have been long gone. I don’t even go to "work" anymore. At last I have my free time. I now have all of the time in the world to play punch ball, but I really don’t feel like playing punch ball or running bases or any games of my youthful years. In fact, neither do my friends. OK I play hide and seek with my younger grandchildren, but it’s different now. Even if the ice cream trucks did come here to Covered Bridge with their cholesterol loaded trans-fat laden, heart clogging delicious choices, it isn’t good for me. I really hate the gas and heartburn it can give to me anyway.

Sunburn? My dermatologist hates the sun and insists I hide from it! But today, I do have my computer, the Internet, even an I-Phone. I could even watch TV like our exciting community (sic) closed circuit channel 63. I may even fall asleep during the endless repetitive loop. My peers and I, instead of discussing the stats of our favorite sports teams, are beginning to keep score of who had prostrate problems and their respective PSAs. Yes, the summer of my youth is long gone, and now I have the summers of my old age. Yes, I loved summers back then, but truth be known, I love summer even more now, particularly here in south Florida. I love every season now as much as I loved summer way back then. Why not? I can’t complain — I’m alive and well and that in itself is a wonderful activity year round!


Ages of Happiness

Happiness. What makes me happy? What being happy means to me: The word happiness to me requires more than a simple answer. What once made me happy instantaneously or long lasting, as I analyze the source of being happy, were made up of very diverse situations. As a young child I received instant gratification which at that moment in time made me happy. For example a new toy or game, or a chocolate ice cream soda, my "new" second hand bicycle, hitting a "homer" in a stickball game, riding on the "whip", "swing" and merry-go-round, that arrived on a "Ride-Truck" on my street during Summertime, a sweat laden Punch Ball Game, followed by the participants cooling down at the local candy store. Most definitely the happiest as a school-child, occurred when June 30th arrived each year. School vacation began, and it was legend with my folks that on that particular finality of school I would announce: " I am so happy that I could jump up to the sky". But I as most children too soon realize, happiness isn’t an unending state of lasting euphoria. The once new toy or game wasn’t thrilling after a while and in fact was tossed aside replaced with a desire anticipating the next new exciting gift. The delicious chocolate ice cream soda sipped by straw down to the bottom of the vase-like glass , disappeared too quickly and was gone together with the satisfaction it brought while it lasted. Striking out next time at bat in the stickball game immediately took the thrill of the "home run" that preceded it. The truck rides lasted but for a short time, until Summer was over along with the enjoyment they brought. July and August sneaked up to a sudden realization that Labor Day was approaching fast and that the feeling of joy as if I was walking on a cloud, would soon turn into a source of preoccupation of going back to school. Why you may wonder, or already have guessed … that my wonderful school- free days. And the fun Summertime brought, was fleeting too quickly, and you know how "time flies" when you are having a good time. While the dreaded specter of the end of this most joyous season was coming to an end, and being reinforced by the reminder as the "back to school" sales were advertised in August, was enough to put any kid into a funk

As the years came and went so did the sources of happiness arise and wane. Appropriately the Summer vacations were now replaced by time off from a job, the bicycles now were replaced by the joy of purchasing a new car, I still enjoyed then and do now love chocolate ice cream sodas, but the street games were left for the next generation to enjoy. As an adult the world opened up to new vistas of happiness to explore and find the joys that life offers. Happy times, being in love, marriage, the birth of each one of my three sons, observing their childhood and their becoming successful adults, creating their own families, which brought me the greatest joy and happiness in my life, when they presented me with each one of my two grandsons and two granddaughters.

Now as I share my life with Maddy, looking back on 52 years of marriage, I find a great deal of happiness in the accomplishments that Maddy and I having created in what I consider our own dynasty. Of course along the way there were tears of joy as well as tears of sadness. We both comforted each other when there was a miscarriage, when illness struck, and when we lost our parents. Looking back for the most part though, the happiness of our years together overshadowed the sad times 1000 fold.

Retiring and subsequently relocating to Florida, and living here, has provided my most recent perception of what happiness means to me.

Whether being a child or an adult a myriad of sources of being happy can be fleeting or last a lifetime. Too numerous and obviously almost if not impossible to hone in on. What makes me happy comes from what I consider my success, contentment, fulfillment, satisfaction, security, serenity, relatively good health, A low PSA, together with a clean bill of health after my last Doctor visit, accepting what being relatively perceived by fellow residents as a "kid" in Covered Bridge, but in reality an older man of 75 years of age. Finally finding the time and freedom to pursue and express my own suppressed desires, be it singing, or writing. Observing my progeny being my children and grandchildren, hot pastrami on rye sandwiches from the a local deli, my wife of 52 years, residing in South Florida, particularly in Covered Bridge. … I would say that I can best describe HAPPINESS being in a "good place in life" …….in essence a happy State Of Mind!


The Yahrzeit Candle

Special to the Condo News

By Geoffrey Kashdan

Originally published in the Condo News on Dec. 30, 1999

For me, it was a day no different than any other day. There was breakfast to make and a work day to face. It was a day in which the routines of my life carried me from place to place with little thought. Predictable sameness. Perhaps that is why I forgot.

That day, you see, marked a major event in my life and in the lives of all of the members of my family. That day was the anniversary of the death of my father. It was my father’s Yahrzeit. Although I had forgotten, forgetting that Yahrzeit was something my mother could never do. "Fifty-two years with a man; you don’t forget!" she would say. But forgetting stuff like that is something I would do.

And, thus, the annual phone call to the errant son, "Jeff, did you get a candle for your father’s Yahrzeit?"

Actually, I had purchased the special candle some months ago. "Yes, Mom, of course. And I will not forget to light it." I even made a phone call to my answering machine, "Jeff," I ordered, "light the candle. Just do it!"

In spite of everything, I forgot to light the candle until the end of the day. Why, I wondered, am I taking part in this senseless ceremony. I pondered on some of the many silly customs I knew from the T.V. National Geographic specials and from my own world travels. People do all sorts of strange things, I thought, as I lit the candle. And now I am doing something strange myself. In this house, with me as its sole occupant, I am lighting a candle to a man long dead. NO one would know if I did or did not light the candle. So, why?

The Yahrzeit candle is no ordinary affair. It is the size of a juice glass and, in fact, the glass container of the candle becomes a juice glass in many Jewish families. Care must be taken when purchasing the Yahrzeit candles throughout the year so that, once the candles are melted away, the remaining glass containers will make a matching set of juice glasses. I have always suspected that the people who design Yahrzeit candle glasses keep in mind what the empty glass would look like with orange juice inside instead of a white candle. (What do you call a person who designs Yahrzeit candle glasses — a Yahrzeit Engineer?)

Aside from the juice-glass shape and size of the candle, the other salient fact about this special religious artifact is that these candles burn for up to twenty-four hours. This makes the placement of the candle a concern. Certainly, no one should lose a house to a Yahrzeit candle fire. That would be more than a shame; it would be blasphemous.

So, as I lit my Yahrzeit candle I considered the possibility that the heating of the glass might do damage to my table top. An easy solution is to place it on a ceramic plate. I got one of my new plates and placed my father’s candle on it and put the combined candle-plate on the dining room table. I wondered if my father would have liked the set of dishes the plate came from. I imagined that he would. The set has a simple design and he liked simple things.

Turning the lights off I let the glow illuminate the room. I had to admit, the soft light of the candle made that table and Italian leather chairs look so good. My father would have liked those chairs too, and for the same reason. They were of simple design. Had he ever seen them? Some deep thinking determined that I had no idea of when I bought the dining room set.

But I did know that my father died in 1987. 1987! Wow! Could it have been that long ago? He’s been dead eleven years now. It just doesn’t seem possible. My youngest daughter was only nine years old then. I remember that he requested in his fading voice that her photograph be placed over the face of the clock in his hospital room. He said that he hated to lie there in bed and watch time passing. Time, he often said, was his enemy. He felt tortured by the hours, as well as the pain of tubes and needles. Time also exacerbated the boredom and intensified the hopelessness. Better to look at the picture of his smiling granddaughter. Her face brought him the only antidote to the misery that the technology of medical science forced him to suffer. If he had to stay alive then he could at least find some comfort. Her picture on that clock made the time endurable.

The candle burned with a steady flame. A warm orange glow softened the features of my dining room and eased away the flaws of scratches, dust and smudge marks on the walls and counters. Everything had a magical radiation.

I wondered what the candle would "do" to my patio. The patio is my pride and joy. I spend hundreds of hours and dollars cosseting the plants and enhancing the two fish ponds, one with a waterfall. I took the Yahrzeit candle with its new ceramic plate base outside. On the patio it did wonderful things to the water in the ponds. My father would have loved this. In fact, he did love my patio. The candle sat in the same place he sat during the last years of his life.

My mother would call me. "Jeff, would you ‘watch’ your father? I have to go out and I can’t leave him alone... not in his condition." I could hear the angst in her voice. His dependency weighed heavily upon her. And I was their only child within two thousand miles.

"No," I replied. "I will not ‘watch’ my father. But I will spend time with him … father-son time, man to man. If he would like to spend time with his son, I would love to have him over."

"Thank you," my mother responded. "Thank you."

Right there, where that candle now burned, my father sat and worked on a project I had prepared for him. When I was a small boy, he would prepare easy wood projects for me. Now I had prepared an easy wood project for him. He would make a tiny puppet theater for Lara, the granddaughter whose picture helped him to cope with time in his final days. My father, now "my son," sat where that candle glowed and sanded the wood work for the puppet theater. Father and son had transferred roles without a word, almost too easily. He was so happy to make that theater for his granddaughter. I remembered his joy. Yes, I remembered it well.

Now, eleven years later, I sat by myself on my patio. The waterfall made the only music I needed and that Yahrzeit candle bathed the leaves of the garden with just enough light. I sat there in the glow of the light and the memories, and, as in an epiphany, I finally understood the reason for a Yahrzeit candle. After eleven years of his absence, I had spent a quiet, simple evening with my father. He would have loved that. He loved simple things.

 


Dear Diary:

Remembering September 11th

By Dot Loewenstein

I had train tickets to head to NJ on 9/11, arriving at the station in WPB learned the trains were going only as far as Richmond - no explanation - and my friends drove me back home where I arrived in time to turn on the T.V. (George) was already in NJ, and my "diary" helped me thru the next few days, until my trip was planned again for two days later. Here it is:

Amtrak, northbound from West Palm, noon Thursday, Sept. 13, 2001:

The station is quite crowded, due to the absence of available flights.Upon learning the train is already 90 minutes late, no one complains. We start comparing our reactions to the WTC tragedy. The most prevalent comment is that we have learned to re-order our priorities. Things that used to seem important no longer are.

Orlando, 3 p.m.:

In the lounge car I overhear "John" explaining to the conductor that he had prepaid for a sleeper, and cannot understand why one is not available now. On doctor’s orders he is taking a train, because he had a heart attack five days earlier.

Jacksonville, 10 p.m.:

Many passengers detrain for the 20 minute stop, in order to view the television in the station. No further attacks, no immediate retaliation. All breathe a sign of relief. I’m now in my sleeper and see "John" with wife "Mary" in the same car. A no-show gave them the rest they needed badly. They confide that Mary’s father had died the day after John’s heart attack. Mary had to choose between attending the funeral or being at her husband’s bedside.

Alexandria, VA, 3 p.m., Friday:

I note a man sitting on the platform with a red, white, and blue ribbon on his shirt. He’s not waiting for a train, simply grieving. The train slows as we pass the Pentagon. Most passengers have gathered in the lounge car. Silence reigns as we pass other Washington landmarks. There is a sudden need to exchange names and addresses. We are no longer strangers.

Newark, NJ, 7 p.m. Friday:

My husband is waiting on the platform for me. I’d been concerned since cell phone calls were not going thru and I couldn’t reach him. Leaving the station, we walk several blocks to the car because there is a five block perimeter guarded by FBI and bomb squads - quite sobering. This is the time to show support by lighting candles. During the ride, we pass many lit candles, on sidewalks, curbs, in front of houses. Newspapers had been saved for me, and in one I discover a photo of our son, with his Rescue Squad, transporting a victim.

Amtrak southbound October 1st:

A young man sitting in front of me is looking at newly developed photos he took on September 9th, of the WTC, with the Statue of Liberty in the foreground. Visiting family in Jersey City, he had an unobstructed view of the event, but no photos of the tragedy - "I couldn’t look."

In the lounge we meet two Rescue Squad workers, returning south after eleven days working at the WTC. Everyone wants to shake their hands and thank them. Their response is, "The New York Fire Department deserves all the praise, not us."



Essays by 

Tony Senzamici

What's in a Name

August 21, 2013

I was just wondering how many readers out there have the same problem that I have had for the last 78 years, namely a name that when you look at it on paper seems like it’s very difficult to pronounce, but in reality if a fourth grader looked at it and pronounce it phonetically it would probably be 75% correct as opposed to some adults who look at it and can’t even pronounce their own name.

As an American of Italian descent I have and am suffering the pain of having a surname that appears to some people to be very difficult to pronounce. Most Italian names, like Indian names have meanings. And it’s mainly derived from our descendents in the old country, possibly from a man’s occupation, hobby, family tradition, or any of the things in the man’s life that the Village people tag him with

I also have an unfortunate problem of what letter of the alphabet your last name begins with. Starting with kindergarten, because my last name started with an ‘S’, I was always next-to-last to receive my little carton of milk, and etc. or if anything that was dependent on being alphabetical.

While in high school, the problem still continued, so-called friends of mine would miss – pronounce my name deliberately and make it sound like a female dog, of course that caused me to react with enough force to get me expelled for a week, and the loss of another friend.

As an adult, I was asked many, many times why did I not change my name legally to something much simpler to pronounce. But my answer to every one of them was, "it was my father’s name and it served him well for 65 years until his death." He worked hard and enjoyed a good reputation in the community as a whole, my brothers and sisters also were taught to respect and honor the name. I honestly think that if I had to be in business or show business I would definitely would have had to change my name. Could you picture this — Now starring " Tony Senzamici in High Noon." It would be more fitting for the Godfather series.

On one occasion, I had to request some assistance from an organization. But before doing so, I had to contact a screening representative of that organization. When she asked me my name, she went ballistic because she couldn’t spell it or pronounce it and screamed into the phone, "Why didn’t you have that name changed?" As you would guess, her name was equally as hard to pronounce as she was first-generation descent of another imigrant group. I cannot put in print the words I used to correct her, but she certainly became very apologetic while I took a couple of minutes to retrain her.

While in the service, the story continues, one Sgt. in my unit constantly mispronounced, ridiculed, maligned my name and heritage to the extent that I had to virtually send him to the hospital with various contusions, cuts, bruises, and a broken nose, all of which caused me to receive a Special Court-Martial and 90 days hard labor in the brig for striking a noncommissioned officer. It was the most satisfying punishment I have ever received. Of coarse, it negated my good conduct medal.

Of course, after 77 years, the saga continues, now while in the doctor’s waiting room, I have to constantly be attentive when the receptionist comes out and very softly calls out a name and if it’s mispronounced beyond recognition I know it is me they looking for. The other great advantage of having a very difficult name to pronounce is the ever ending telephone marketers. If they cannot pronounce my name, then I know it is not a friend or family and I immediately hang up.

The true friends I have pronounce my name perfectly and I thank them for that. People that I know that have difficult names to pronounce I will make it a point to find out the correct pronunciation as to avoid embarrassment for me or them.

Ironically, I have gone on the computer and typed in my last name and I was amazed of all the people in the United States with the same surname that I have. And I am not related to many of them. And in Italy in my parents home town, the name is as common as Smith or Jones is in the United States. (Somebody in Naples was having a ball.)

I used to cringe while waiting for names to be called alphabetically for any event or circumstance and was quickly to respond to any name that resembled mine whether it was mispronounced or not.

I used to envy my friends with names like Larson, Riley, Wilson and so on. But of course, they had nothing to defend, with no anxiety, no frustration, no embarrassment and no anger. How dull can life get?

When I order a pizza by phone instead of giving them my correct name and having to spell it, I simply say José, it saves me a lot of time and aggravation.

Of course, I also have to contend with smart alec Italians who always had to approach me and asked me if I knew what my name meant in Italian. Of course, I had to tell them after so many years living with it how stupid do they think people are.

Just for the record the name Senzamici means "without friends," but I can honestly say God has blessed me with more friends than I think I deserve. If the origin of Italian names is true then there must’ve been an ancestor of mine in the old country who must’ve been a real SOB . Incidentally, name is pronounced Sen-za-mee-chee.

I don’t know how many more years the good Lord will give me to enjoy the privilege of defending my family name, but so far at times it’s been a blast.


Invention: A Product of Necessity

Since ancient times, there have been many, many inventions, from the wheel to the cotton gin to computers — some out of necessity and some for personal pleasure. But, in my opinion, no invention has been more endearing and loving to my heart than the good old TV REMOTE.

I am sure all you seniors out there remember the times when we had to get off our duffs to adjust the sound, the contrast or color or just to kick or slap the TV to unscramble the picture. Sometimes, that was the only exercise we got. Fortunately, I had human remotes — my two young sons who did that for me. But that stopped when they got older and wiser.

I am sure that the younger generation of today think that some of these devices we have today were with us from the beginning of time and never give it a second thought.

In my home, if my wife and I are in the same room together, she is forbidden to hold the remote because of the drastic likes and dislikes we have on what programs to watch, but she is very accommodating, thank God. Otherwise, there would be an attorney involved.

I admit to being a notorious, compulsive, channel surfer which drives the wife crazy. I even surf through programs I like. I have been known to doze off while watching TV. The wife says I even change channels while dozing. I had to exchange remotes 3 different times in the past because they wore out.

I can watch 2 or 3 different TV programs at once by repeatedly watching segments of each show, and enjoy them, and I can still tell you what the programs were about from beginning to the end. The wife just looks at me and shakes her head in disbelief.

Sometimes I am on the verge of panic when I can’t find the remote because it slipped down between the cushions on the chair, (always the wife’s fault).

While traveling long distances on my many trips up north and I have to check into a motel, the first thing I check is the TV remote, then I check the cleanliness of the room and toilet. I have checked out of a few motels because of a bad remote or TV. By the way, I always have two AA batteries with me just in case their’s are dead or weak.

Once, I was on the verge of a nervous breakdown while in a hospital for 4 days because of an antiquated remote and TV reception. Shouldn’t my hospitalization plan cover that?

I am thinking very seriously of having a ‘living will’ drawn up that a universal TV remote be placed with my remains, just in case there is a big flat screen TV on the "Other Side," with cable, I hope.

My life would be complete if a remote were to be invented that would have the wife bring me my drinks, snacks and other "essential services" whenever I want them. What a wonderful world this would be, eh guys?

 


Essays by 

Tina Chippas

When Less is More

(Opinion)

(September 18, 2013)

Can there possibly be another word or critique that hasn’t been written or uttered about Syria’s President Assad’s self-denied involvement of the chemical death sentence for, reportedly, over 1400 Syrians? And who would have expected that Vladimir Putin would become the de facto U.S. ambassador to Syria? The Kerry-Larov agreement has been described as a "…Russian delaying tactic on behalf of its Syrian ally—a tactic we’ve seen before." (John Barrasso—WSJ) Putin hasn’t been, nor likely to ever be, the U.S.’s BFF (Best Friend Forever), so let’s not hold our collective breath on that hope.

The situation is a labyrinth of political/military/diplomatic/humanitarian connections and misconnections—tangled, like those strings of Christmas lights that you thought you had put away neatly only to later find a jumble resembling Medusa’s hair. Those Americans who oppose any Syrian involvement are described as "war weary." We are, indeed, war-weary. Too many American military and civilian personnel have been sacrificed and maimed in past and present military involvements, American families’ lives disrupted and unfathomable sums of money spent on wars that could have been used for our own domestic needs.

The timetable for Syria’s dismantling of its chemical weapons is not immediate—it stretches into 2014 and success of that endeavor is not guaranteed. In the meanwhile, such an agreement keeps American involvement at bay. This is when less is more.

 

Explaining the Inexplicable

(August 21, 2013)

Now I am not a person who readily believes "stuff" I can’t see or touch. After all, in addition to being a born and bred New Yorker, I’m from New Jersey. We’re tough sells: we question, we evaluate and then we decide. We’re not pushovers for the bizarre or the ethereal.

Last week, my skepticism went into full drive when I read a news item about a horrific, head-on car crash, caused by a drunk driver, in Center, Missouri. Rescue workers labored for an hour, attempting to extricate the victim, a nineteen-year-old woman; she was pinned in the crumpled, overturned, wreckage, and the emergency crews’ tools and cutting blades were ineffectual. To free the victim, the car would have to be up-righted but rescuers were concerned about the victim’s plummeting vital signs. The young woman asked if someone would pray with her. A man dressed in black, clerical garb, carrying anointing oil, stepped forward and said, "I will." He anointed the young woman with the oil and he and some of the rescue workers prayed aloud. A firefighter on the scene reported that he and others clearly heard the priest say that they should remain calm, that their tools would work and the rescuers could now get her out of the vehicle. And, indeed, that was exactly what happened. As the prayer ended, additional rescue equipment arrived. The woman was extricated and then evacuated by helicopter. That’s when over a dozen rescuers turned to thank the priest—but he was gone.

Now here’s the goose-bumpy part of the report: of the eighty photographs taken at the accident site, not one showed the priest anywhere on the scene—a highway bordered by cornfields where traffic had been blocked for a quarter of a mile. Those present said an angel had been sent to help the rescuers and provide comfort and strength to the young woman. It wasn’t until days later that the "angel" was identified: a priest, on his way to an assignment, had performed his spiritual duties and, unnoticed, left the scene. But, was it merely a coincidence of time and place that the priest was at that site—just a perfect example of "serendipity"? Or had some other force been at work to place him there at that particular time?

In a society that accommodates and celebrates misplaced idols of worship, the premise of an "angel" is appealing. A force, overseeing and helping humankind, in a world that has gone amuck—who wouldn’t want that? Looking back, there have been so many times when an inexplicable chain of events culminated in unexpected outcomes causing us to exclaim, "What a coincidence!" Maybe it wasn’t a coincidence but, instead, some unearthly power orchestrating times, people and events. Leave the door open on that one. Explaining the inexplicable may go beyond the human endeavor. Even this skeptic has to admit that.


Forty-Two, Again!

(June 26, 2013)

"Florida? God’s waiting room!" a co-worker commented when I said I was retiring and moving to Florida. "Wall-to-wall grumpy geriatrics," he continued, "with no sense of humor and no filters on their mouths." He gave me pause to reconsider: I’d known plenty of older people and I didn’t have that impression of them. And, hey, retirement would put me in that category of "old people," wouldn’t it?

I moved to the Sunshine State and, yes, plenty of older people, some grumpy, many not. And I became one of the soldiers in this army of "seniors," though, certainly, I didn’t feel as if I were. I questioned what constituted "old," and read up on it. I found Plato’s, "He who is of a calm and happy nature will hardly feel the pressure of age, but to him who is of an opposite disposition, youth and age are equally a burden." Plato (427-346 B.C.) What a relief! I wasn’t subject to a change of disposition because of impending years. I didn’t have to let age change who I was or how I saw or accepted life. If the "pressure of age" hardly matters, and if I didn’t know how old I was, what age would I want to be? Forty-two, I decided. That was my favorite year. I would be forty-two from then on, with all the spirit that age brought.

I have a companion who’s the perfect model of aging with grace. We’ve grown older together, though she’s aged faster than I. She’s a splendid example of enjoying each day for its pleasures. She’s—my dog. (Name, breed, color, don’t matter— dog lovers know what I mean.) She’s fifteen now, deaf, blinded by cataracts and diabetic. She’s endured serious surgeries with determination and patience, seemingly grateful for the gentle care she needed to survive. Passionately devoted and protective, she’s content to just be, despite her infirmities. Some days, she frolics like a puppy; other days I have to carry her outside. She nestles in my arms, clearly appreciating the lift. Once set down, she attends to her affairs and walks back, sometimes chasing lizards, sometimes rolling in the lush, warm grass, loving life. I gaze at this intelligent creature and wonder at her ability to lose herself in the sheer joy and zest of that moment in spite of her advanced years. I learn from that and stop to smell the flowers . . . literally.

We visit parks, strolling along paths, I now and then carrying her when she’s too tired to walk. We delight in the scents and sounds of nature, stopping to talk to other dog walkers and their dogs. The joy of those shared moments is keenly bittersweet because I know the clock is ticking. But then I remember: I’m forty-two! Like my dog, I’m loving and living in the moment of each day—treasuring the here and the now.

 


And That's The Way It Is.

Chelsea

Lukie

(May 15, 2013)

It’s a habit now—a bona fide condition I’ve developed. Diagnosis: Media-itis. I wake in the middle of the night with the crisis de jour or even crisis de l’heure, niggling at my consciousness. The cause? Self-induced, daily exposure to Internet news and oh-so-troubling visual TV images proffered by well-groomed, silver-tongued news announcers who, unflinchingly, present the worst of humankind doings without so much as a grimace. I loved Walter Cronkite’s delivery of the news: a trace of sadness for tragic reports, a faint smile for ridiculous happenings. "And that’s the way it is," his sign-off, told me, in effect . . . it is what it is, and it ain’t what it ain’t, folks—nothing we can do about it. That’s what’s most frustrating about the news: I can’t do a thing about worldwide conflicts/carnage, sink holes, bombings, kidnappings, murders… not a darn thing.

I want to stay informed but I also want to feel good about something, anything, in the news and try channel surfing, hoping to find more uplifting happenings— one item or event that will make me feel there’s hope for the survival of our civilization. Once in a while, a heartening bit of information comes along only to be replaced by an even bigger calamity. I sweat out that event until it’s resolved, or sort of resolved, and then I can move on to the next tribulation. And if there’s nothing new, reruns and re-reruns of the most recent misery persist on all the news channels. It never ends.

My dogs placidly watch TV news with me, seemingly unaffected by current events. Lukie, the stumpy, sturdy Min-Pin, knows chow time comes at the end of the first edition of the evening news. He swivels his head, his big, black eyes fix unblinkingly on me. The slightest twitch of my hand or foot is his signal to become "Super Dog" by flying off the sofa, racing toward the kitchen, barely getting traction on the ceramic floor. Chelsea, the 15-year-old red toy Poodle, also knows the schedule but saunters at a more decorous pace toward her dish. While she daintily picks and chooses morsels from her plate, Lukie devours his food in a few seconds flat and stands at a respectful distance eyeing hers.

Dinner over, they return to their beds, settle themselves in, and doze through the rest of the news programs. They are content. All’s right with their world. They don’t worry about murder and mayhem. Dogs deal with what’s directly in front of them. Nothing more. And that’s the way it is for them. No doubt about it: instinctively, they know how to get good night’s sleep. Maybe I should follow suit—

 


Another Furry Tale

Lukie

(June 1, 2011)

Some days I prefer canine companionship to that of humans. The complexity of human associations just doesn’t exist in the canine world. Joys are simple, wants are basic, responses are sincere. Yup, give me a dog for a friend, any day.

My poodle, Chelsea, and granddog, Miniature Pinscher Lukie, love to travel. They’re perfect companions: no backseat driving; no discussions on when and where to stop. They just do as bidden. At least Chelsea does. Luke is quite another animal. Daughter has not stressed listening skills or social graces as his horrific eating manners will attest. Chelsea is still contemplating her dish, daintily sniffing offerings while Lukie chomps his kibble with gusto, licks his dish clean and eyes Chelsea’s full plate for handouts. He is smart enough to do so from a good five feet away, fully aware of her wrath regarding property infringement.

I decided it was a good day for a trip to Peanut Island. The Sailfish Marina Taxi waited for us as I scooped up the dogs and loaded them on board. Chelsea obediently dropped to a sphinx-like position next to me. Lukie refused to sit and leaned against the guardrail. I looped my fingers through the dog’s halters and we were off in a spray of cool water. A speedboat pulled up alongside our boat. "HEY, POOCH," a man clicking away with camera shouted, "OVER HERE." "Who’s he?" Lukie asked Chelsea. "You TWIT—he’s paparazzi," she hissed back and turned to me. "If you hadn’t sent that essay to the Condo News, this wouldn’t be happening. We never have any privacy any more." She tossed her fluffy red hair and stared straight ahead, ignoring the press. Lukie hooked his front paws over the side of the boat, big dark eyes flashing, pink tongue a pleasant contrast to his glistening white teeth, clearly enjoying his newly found fame. "This is so cool," he murmured. Lukie has a tendency to mumble, a habit that annoys Chelsea whose speech is soft but distinct.

We disembarked and headed for the gazebo. Lukie stopped short, hackles rising, as he spied what looked like "Otto," the German shepherd from our dog park caper. If it wasn’t Otto, it was a first cousin. Once again, Otto wasn’t leashed. His head, almost as big as Lukie’s entire body, turned toward us. I heard a hoarse growl and then I saw his lips quivering. Remembering my bruises from my last encounter with Otto’s head, I herded the dogs away, but Lukie wasn’t having any of it. He lunged for Otto, dragging me with him. Here we go, again, I groaned, looking frantically for Otto’s owner. Then, Chelsea took charge. She told Otto off, using every French swear word in her vocabulary. He cocked his head and looked at her, puzzled. A piece of red fluff, defying him? Lukie took advantage of his adversary’s hesitation and forged ahead, grimacing, yapping, exhibiting some fancy footwork as he danced in a semicircle, Grandma in tow. The monster dog lowered his head and slowly headed toward us. "Henry, DOWN!" From a nearby yacht, a familiar-looking man in a brightly flowered shirt put down his guitar and shouted at the shepherd. He walked up to us. "Henry’s a bully." "HENRY?" Lukie snickered. "With a name like that he’d have to be a bully."

The man looked at my pale face and held his hand out "I’m so sorry. I’m Jimmy. Let me make up for Henry’s bad manners with lunch on board?" Where had I seen Jimmy before? And then it hit me: the paparazzi, the guitar—OMG! Mr. Margaritaville, himself. "Love to," I responded. No one will believe this, I thought as I handed the dogs up to Mr. Margaritaville at the yacht. For once, Lukie’s madcap antics paid off. The little scamp smiled at me. "Isn’t this fun, Gram?" he murmured.


The Condoggers

You’ve seen them. They are legion. And I am one of them. We are The Condoggers. We live in condos; we have dogs. Hence, Condoggers.

We’re a friendly lot, stopping to pet each other’s dogs, discuss the hardly-changing Florida temperatures, usually keeping to the lighter topics of life. We watch our dogs interact, who, for the most part, reflect their owners’ personalities. They do, you know. Dogs mirror our personalities and I often wonder if we don’t choose our dogs not just because we like the way they look, but, also, because we see something of ourselves in them! Haven’t we all seen an old dog and its aged owner who, like an old married couple, resemble each other?

For the most part, I enjoy walking my Princess Poodle, Chelsea, and my granddog, the rascally Miniature Pinscher, Lukie, subject of "A Furry Tale" Condo News essay. Chelsea is a prim and proper walker, her delicate neck sensitive to the slightest directional tug on her leash. Lukie has an uncompromising neck of steel. To ensure I don’t lose him, I fashion a leash-noose around my wrist that promises, one day, to sever hand from arm as he lunges after hapless lizards that scurry into grasses on his approach. Daughter never listened when I extolled the virtues of dog training when he was a puppy. He was hers to cuddle and spoil and, like any indulged child, he assumes he’s king of the house and reigns supreme outdoors.

Most times, Lukie listens to Grandma, but where food and prey are involved, he’s stone deaf. No amount of cajoling or corrective leash control makes a difference. His stubby, muscular, Doberman-like body and coloring is alien in Condog World. Condog people with stuffed-toy type dogs, worriedly consider Lukie’s approach. He does have a formidable trait — a ridge of fur stretching from neck to tail that springs upright at the sight of another dog. His chest puffs out as he assumes a defiant "C’mon, I Dare You" stance with a deceptive smile featuring a formidable, albeit small, set of glistening teeth. Truth be known, he’s a big baby where confrontation is concerned. And Chelsea has his number. She’s the Alpha Dog and he takes wide berth around her. If he dares to violate her "Don’t-Come-Near-Me Zone," Chelsea gives one sharp bark, and turns on her heels. Sometimes I think I hear her murmur "TWIT" under her breath, although she’s been admonished to be patient with him. After all, in dog years, she’s 84 and he’s only a rakish 28!

Condoggers are, for the most part, responsible dog owners who train their dogs to respond civilly to other dogs and humans. They pick up after their pets and keep them in good condition, feeding, exercising them, and the results of that nurturing are lovable and livable pets.

Teddy

Tiffany

My condo block has some really sweet condogs: the handsome, blond and debonair Teddy — a Whoodle (Wheaten Terrier and Poodle mix), and a lovely, snow-white Maltese, Tiffany, to name just two, are delightful — the kind of dogs you wish were human so you could pal around with them. They have Chelsea’s tail-wag approval though Lukie is still in the "Bet-I-Can-Race-Ya-To-The-Corner" competitive stage. I’ve no doubt, in time, they will win him over to be as sociable as they are.

When I first contemplated moving to Florida, Daughter, already a Floridian, would scout out condos for me, encouraging the move with, " . . . and there are lots of people who walk their dogs on that block," assuming they were genial people and dogs whom Chelsea and I would enjoy meeting. And she was right! We do.


"Dear Dad ... I miss you"

9/11 Memorial Garden, 

Middletown, N.J.

Photo by Tina Chippas

Under the dappled shade of tall trees, in Middletown, New Jersey, is a 9/11 Memorial Garden that leaves your heart aching, long after the tears have dried.

On 9/11, Middletown, New Jersey, suffered "the largest concentrated death toll" of any place in America — thirty-seven men and women perished on that day. If you lived in Middletown, an hour’s ride from Manhattan, you would have seen the huge plume of smoke and smelled the acrid fumes from the World Trade Center’s holocaust and you probably know someone who lost a relative or friend in the horror of that site.

Middletown 9/11 Memorial Garden is a place of remembrance for those who have no resting place, where their families may find comfort in the memory of their lost loved ones. A winding walkway leads into the shaded park and you are instantly aware of the stillness, a sense of reverence usually found in religious sanctuaries. It’s quite evident that this is a special place.

Large tombstones, engraved with the actual likeness of each lost resident, follow the pathway. Inscribed on the headstones are literary quotations, biblical passages or last messages from loved ones. I read each headstone, seeing some names for the first time and recognizing others as friends lost in the tragedy. One, I knew as a young father of a two-year-old and an infant. His widow was told he was on the way down the staircase and would have been saved but he didn’t see his mother-in-law who worked on the floor above him and turned back to find her. They both perished. She lost her husband and her mother on that day. And that is but one account of the thirty-seven who were lost.

At each mock gravesite, there were written messages and tokens of love. At one, a letter and baseball were tucked inside a boy’s baseball cap. The letter read, "Dear Dad, I pitched a good game and we won. I miss you Dad." On another, a childish drawing of a colorful birthday cake with too many candles to count and at the bottom, "Happy Birthday, Mommy. We blew out the candles for you." Teddy bears, dolls, baby shoes, little angels, family photographs — mementos from loved ones who still grieve and hurt. Lives, dreams, families were shattered on that fateful day, and though the pieces may have come together, those lives are forever changed.

At the memorial site, I spoke with a relative who survived the attack. She related when she followed the flow of people walking down the stairs to safety, firemen, with all their gear, were on their way up. She said, "I can’t forget their eyes ... they all seemed to be young and blue-eyed and, as they climbed, they gave encouragement to those leaving, telling us to be calm and help each other. I had the feeling they knew they weren’t going to make it out. There was something in each and every face that told me that. I still dream about their eyes."

A man, about fifty, was walking and reading the headstones. He wore a shirt with the tiny logo, "NYPD. " He said he’d lost almost all his buddies from the effects of smoke inhalation. He looked at his wife a short distance away and lowered his voice. "I don’t know how much longer I have, but I needed to come here to pay my respects." When I asked him how he coped with his memories, he smiled. "I always say, don’t look back. We showed the world what Americans can be — how strangers pulled together to save people they didn’t know. Didn’t matter what color or religion they were. That’s our strength as Americans."

I left Memorial Park filled with sadness for the lives lost, for the families left behind and with a sense of patriotic pride that my town had been through the worst and shown its best.


A Furry Tale

I was swept away the first time I visited a dog park. Literally—off my feet, on my back. A new dog park had opened. I thought my daughter’s deranged Min-Pin, Lukie, nee Lucifer, would love the freedom of a park. I have a Princess Poodle. You won’t find this breed listed under A.K.C. Chelsea simply was born into the wrong species—she was meant to be a Princess Human. This red-haired, canine noblewoman likes to be bathed, groomed and walked in landscaped parks. In a flood, it’ll be Lukie, on the roof, barking for the boat to pick him up while Chelsea gracefully poses on the sofa, waiting for a rescuer’s knock on the door.

I knew Chelsea wouldn’t appreciate mingling with the canine commoners, but I was convinced animated Lukie would. The second we entered the parking lot, Chelsea looked at me with dismay. Eight large dogs roamed the enclosure. "You brought me here?" her eyes reproached me. Lukie’s eyes lit up. "Lemme outta here!" he panted. "I gotta get out with them big guys!" (I’ve come to read dog language well.) I could barely restrain him as he tugged to get past the double gates into the grassed pen.

I unleashed him and he tore off, racing toward his new buddies who outsized and outweighed him five times over. Chelsea looked at the mob of bulky creatures as they sniffed Lukie and primly sat down beside me. "Let me know when you want to leave, Lady," she muttered under her breath as she examined her buffed nails. "Not my milieu here." I shrugged. Her choice to mingle or not.

Lukie

Chelsea

At least Lukie was enjoying himself. He was dancing around the big dogs, Gene Kelly without the umbrella or rain. Teasing them—darting away and returning to the posse. "C’mon, ya big sissies. Whatsamatta, can’t run, huh?" His small, muscular body and stubby tail wriggled in anticipation. I thought I saw the German Shepherd raise his brows and nod his head at his comrades. "Voss is das?" he asked. "It’s a Miniature Pinscher, Otto, you know, like a small Doberman," a yellow Lab answered deferentially. "Doberman?" Otto scoffed. "He iss a joke. Ve don’t play mit him. Tell him to go avay." The Lab turned to Lukie who smiled, white teeth glistening. "NAAA NAAA, can’t get me," Lukie taunted. "Big sissies scared?" "Dot’s itt," Otto shook his fur. "Ve go. Men, follow me!"

Lukie got a headstart. He circled, serpentined, streaked, zigzagged across the field leading the furry ribbon of dogs. The pack gained on him. Realizing his tiny stride was no match for his pursuers, he looked for help. Grandma! At full tilt, Lukie ran toward and between my legs. So did Otto. I remember how white and fluffy the clouds seemed as I lay on my back. Owners came to reclaim their giants. We had provided them with a great show.

I limped into my daughter’s house in search of ice for my bruised body. "Did Mommy’s baby have a good time in the doggy park?" Daughter cooed to her dog who bore no evidence of his earlier escapade and seemed eager for his next. "He looks tired," she reproached me as I tied icepacks to my leg and arm. "Maybe the dog park was too much for him. He’s such a timid little guy." Lukie smirked at me. Barely moving his lips he murmured, "It was a blast, Gram—what are we doin’ tomorrow?"


Tina Chippas is a resident of SeaMark Condominiums in North Palm Beach, FL. She has authored an unpublished novel, Affair in Athens, that narrates her grandfather’s heroic sheltering of Salonika Jews during WWII.


Essays by Stanley Shotz

Stanley Shotz is a journalist residing in West Palm Beach, Florida.

No Taps for Joe Mayo

(May 18, 2011)

The first recollection that I had as a youngster, of Memorial Day, was the several men that appeared in our assembly at school each year and talked about Americanism and patriotism. One wore a strange wide-brimmed, tasseled hat and was introduced as being a veteran of the Spanish-American War and the other much younger man was introduced as having been in the big war in France. There was, too, a much older veteran dressed in blue, who had fought in the War Between The States.

The next thing that I can recall is how there was a parade that went past my house to the cemetery a few streets away. School was closed that day. In the parade, along with a bugle and drum corps, marched a whole group of men in dark blue uniforms and all were either shouldering rifles or carrying flags. After a few speeches, the men lined up and aimed their guns over the tombstones that all had wreaths on them and fired several volleys. These, I was told, were members of the American Legion and they performed this act of remembrance anywhere that a veteran was buried.

Alongside the road running through the area known as Mt. Desert Island is a stand of trees that rises over 40 feet high. It is at a spot just a few minutes ride to Bar Harbour, Maine. As I walked this area and noted the old farm houses along the way, I also noticed a few marble and granite markers wedged between the trees about 50 feet in from the two lane rural roadway. This was the family burial yard of the Mayo family that had settled in the area before the days of the Civil War. The land must have been almost barren during that period, for now, the trees were lifting the stones and toppling them as the trunks grew thicker and fought to take up all the available ground.

The names and dates on some of the stones were still legible and by reading them you could document the marriages and history of the family. The Mayo family outnumbered the other stones and there was one stone with the name of Capt. Thomas Richardson. The etching on the stone stated quite simply ... "Drowned at Sea." Next to it was the grave site of the Mayo daughter that had married him, only to have buried the Captain shortly after, at his age of 24.

A few yards away, a stone lying flat on the ground and almost hidden by the brush had the simple inscription - Joseph Mayo USN. There was some kind of flat object partly buried in the soil and it was attached to a long spike. The emblem had the shape of the Maltese Cross and was made of bronze and embossed on the one side were the words; "Department of Maine" "Post 108" and the letters G.A.R. (Grand Army of the Republic)

Here I discovered, was the burial site of a Civil War veteran. Many years had passed since those in the community took note of the significance of the plot of land that was part of the Mayo family farmyard. Overgrown with brush and weeds, stifled by the crush of giant maple trees, no one walks by, no one remembers the site. The Mayo and Richardson families have moved away and the land is now owned by the operators of the Barcadia Campground. This portion remains undeveloped and plans for the campground expansion are far in the future. Throughout rural America, many families created their own burial grounds and here in a world renowned resort still lies the remains of two veterans of a war.

With the approach of Memorial Day this year, veterans will again pay tribute to their fallen comrades. There will be observances of the Day in France, England and the Far East. There will be ceremonies at Arlington, Gettysburg, Vicksburg and Harpers Ferry and in thousands of cemeteries across our country. There will be no marching of men to the spot where Joe Mayo and Thomas Richardson rest, there will be no ceremonies or speeches; no American flag will be placed on the site and the red white and blue bunting will be missing. I will stop for a moment and offer a silent prayer for all the Joseph Mayos of the world. The rifles will not be fired over their tombstones for as with many of our departed servicemen whom we have forgotten-there will be no taps for Joe Mayo.


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